Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wanna be an Entertainment Journalist?!

Get off your ass.. send a CV to every news channel there is in this country and start brushing up on your language skills. Its important you know how to ask a celeb the questions they don’t want to answer!

ok, hate to be vain here but reality check. You're not on radio …you're not in print. In television, looks matter! Keep in mind that some one has to be subjected to actually watching you on screen. Sure, you don’t need to look like a pageant winner (if you do, great! Gimme a call!)…but being presentable is a good thing. You’ll realise a lot of stars warm up to you a lot more if you don’t smell like something that should’ve been thrown out with the trash! And the whole era of nerdy entertainment journalists has died.. I think the viewer expects some gloss. Give ‘em that!

If you’re doing hindi..there’s no excuse for asking “aap ko kaisa lag raha hai!”. The in joke is that…you could be interviewing someone for a film release, a rape victim, someone who cracked their spine while having tantric sex..and the reporter would ask “aap ko kaisa lag raha hai!”. I'm sure there's a better question to ask!

This is personal opinion really. Others might tell you a journalism degree helps but my take on this is simple.. ACJ is not going to teach you how NOT to be distracted by Rakhi Sawant's breasts while she’s giving you an interview! There are something things you only learn on the job…and this is one of those! Plus think about could study for 3 years..then you’ll join as an intern..when honestly in the media no one gives a damn about your degree… might as well impress them with your work rather than your marksheet!

The couch exists. I’m waiting to be offered something! ;)Communication skills matter. Being camera friendly helps. And its important you find someway of making yourself stand out. Because if you’re like all of them… they’re not going to remember you. That said, this job is really about having fun.. if you're not going to enjoy entertainment...might as well cover stocks!

Interning with a News Channel?!

Frankly, if you hate the place you're interning at, don’t be too hard on yourself. You are afterall at the very bottom of the food chain. There is a huge upside to being an intern though….enjoy it!

This is perhaps the only phase in your career you CAN'T be held accountable for what you do. If you do it well, you’ll walk away with all the praise. If you screw up…someone else will have to hear “How could you leave it to that intern. I mean he/she is JUST AN INTERN”. And it’ll end there! So go ahead..make mistakes..learn from them..and get some people screwed in the bargain ;)

No one likes getting anyone coffee, and if you think people make interns do that- you’re wrong. No one actually does that! They might want to…but they don’t. A large part of your job will be to log tapes, a task I personally hate. (and never really do!). The good part about logging other people’s tapes though, is that you know exactly what NOT to do! Its hard being objective when you’re going through your own footage…its easy to hate something that’s someone else’s. Just remember… if you’re thinkin “Jeez! This guy is so cheezy!” , chances are you might not want to do anything even remotely similar.

Network. You’re there for one reason build contacts. Make them fall in love with you. Be eager to help. Spend a few extra hours at work. I hate to brag (actually, that’s a lie..i was born to brag!), but my career actually began with interning at Bombay Times and I ended up getting quite a few eyeballs. Youth brings tremendous energy. So every other old fart who’s trying to shrug away work…volunteer to do it..and you’ll realise you’ll end up doing pretty well for yourself.

Lastly, if and when you do go with someone on assignment.. analyse the person you’re going with. Some people enjoy answering questions..some don’t. The one thing that’s universal that NO ONE likes to baby sit. As long as you’re good company…you’ll be fine.

The worst mistake an intern can to think they’re lesser mortals. While that might be true..(!) most people in entertainment are a lot less uptight than standard news fellas..
(Disclaimer: I said MOST. Author cannot be held accountable for your bad karma that blesses you with one of the four jerks in entertainment!).

Enjoy the internship. The industry needs young people who can have fun. No better place to see the world. Get paid..and go home and say..”I’m so tired. Too much partying tonight!”